Conference Final a distant memory for Kings
JAN 25, 2013 12:28p ET
Moments after Dustin Brown’s un-penalized side-on-side hit of Michal Roszival that included leg contact but did not result in an injury or any supplemental discipline, Dustin Penner scored on the ensuing shift to eliminate the Coyotes and hand the Kings their second conference championship in team history.
For Los Angeles, the post-game antics, Mike Smith’s slashing and referee-directed stick-tossing, Dr. Shane Doan’s diagnosis of Roszival’s “blown out” knee, Keith Yandle’s assessment that the referees favored the Kings because of a lack of a Phoenix owner – aren’t even specks in the Kings’ rearview mirror. After Colin Campbell spoke directly with the Coyotes players, whose actions he deemed unsavory, the episode was finished.
For Brown, no Phoenix player reached out over the summer to clarify their displeasure over the series’ conclusion. There was no continuation of the discussion that took place in the World’s Most Awkward Handshake Line.
“I don’t really know if it was warranted, really,” Los Angeles’ captain said.
“At the end of the day – I’ve said this right after that series, and I say this now – the emotions are running pretty high on the ice, regardless. You go from an overtime – whatever the play was – to your season ending pretty quickly. It’s a pretty emotional high and low. It’s just emotion on the ice. Who knows? Everyone still makes a big deal about it.”
Perhaps the rekindling of a suddenly fierce rivalry is what could jumpstart some passion into the Kings’ disappointing play to begin the season when the two teams meet in Glendale, Arizona on Saturday on FOX Sports West at 5:00 pm. Los Angeles has opened 0-2-1, relying on only one goal – Jeff Carter’s second period tally in a 2-1 overtime loss to Edmonton on Thursday – from a top six forward.
“For me, it’s just another game. I prepare like it’s any other game,” Brown said before departing on the current road trip. “You talk about rivalries – you don’t really have a rivalry until you play in the playoffs, and we played them in the Western Conference Final. Who knows? At the end of the day, for us, it’s about getting two points.”
Brown and his Kings teammates will face a Phoenix team that has also opened the season under whispers of early disappointment. With one win in four games and Smith day-to-day with a lower-body injury, the Coyotes aren’t likely to be looking outward in their attempts to regain traction in their 2013 season.
Nor is Los Angeles caught at all in reminiscence over past accomplishments or matchups at Jobing.com Arena.
“Now, at least for myself and I think a lot of guys in here, we’re not thinking about what we did last year,” Brown said.
Drew Doughty put it just as bluntly when speaking with reporters after Thursday’s overtime loss.
“Going into the next one, no ‘ifs’ ‘ands’ or ‘buts’. We’ve got to win that game.”
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